Traffic snarls are worse during the weekends, say police
Most of the malls provide parking space for cars and two-wheelers New shopping malls add to parking problems
Bangalore: Mahatma Gandhi Road records 12,000 passenger car units (PCU) an hour on Saturdays and Sundays; the road's capacity is just 7,500, on the basis of an acceptable limit of 2,200 cars a lane. And, it is a comparatively wide road.
While traffic snarls are common on weekdays, it becomes worse on weekends, traffic police say. The older shopping areas such as Mahatma Gandhi Road, Brigade Road and Commercial Street apart others such as Commissariat Road and Magarath Road now have their share too as does one stretch of Hosur Road. Thanks to the new shopping malls.
While most of the malls provide multi-level parking space for about 800 cars, and a smaller number of two-wheelers, the number of shoppers often exceeds it. The slow moving traffic and frequent traffic signals and the fighting for parking space are more common on other roads.
The automated parking system with machined dispensing tickets for the exact time needed and tow-away threats for those exceeding the time limit has helped to some extent on Commercial Street and Brigade Road. All the big brands have their outlets on these roads, and shoppers generally feel they find more variety than in outlets in malls or in multi brand department stores.
The authorities, including Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the joint developer of one mall, and the traffic police are seriously concerned. Bangalore has established itself as the best retail testing ground in the region because of its cosmopolitan population and a high percentage of those in the higher income bracket. From Swiss watches to branded jewellery, retail space in one of the popular shopping areas is a must for those in business.
Roads surrounding the central business district are also teeming with more traffic. In some cases as on Main Guard Cross, it is a question of alternative parking space for those shopping in Commercial Street. On some roads, it is those driving to the shops.
Cubbon Road and Kamaraj Road-Cavalry Road now record a traffic density of 9,000 PCUs on weekends. Brigade Road has a density of 2,200 PCUs and Commercial Street, 1,400 an hour on weekends.
Shoppers are not the only ones who clog these roads. Almost every mall has its multiplexes plus restaurants and upmarket pubs which have become gathering places for the city's jetset. They will of course drive down in their latest model cars and add to the late night traffic. This city no longer really sleeps.